You’d have to be living under a rock not to be aware of the impending deadline for the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) to track drivers’ Hours of Service (HOS).
HOS regulations were initially developed in 1937, with paper logging rules established in the early 1960s. There were not a lot of changes to the rule until the 2000s as legislation began to intersect with the demands of the modern supply chain.
Like it or not, the era of paper driver logs is over. Technology is available that will automatically record drivers Hours of Service and better ensure compliance with legislation.
As of December 18, 2017 commercial drivers with model year 2000 or newer trucks who currently are required to prepare Hours of Service records of duty status (RODS) must start using an ELD.
However, fleets that currently are using automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDS) can continue to use those devices until December 16, 2019 to comply with the ELD mandate.
You also need to be aware that the 10-hour-out-of service order associated with non-compliance with the mandate will begin April 1, 2018, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. However, this does not mean that you can avoid getting an ELD. Drivers who don’t have an ELD or grandfathered AOBRD will be cited and possibly fined, but won’t be taken out of service. However, after April 1, 2018, all of the above will apply.
Many large and medium-sized fleets have already installed ELDs on their trucks, but smaller fleets and owner-operators have lagged in implementation because of concerns about cost, how ELDs will impact productivity and a hope that the mandate deadline will be extended.
At this point, it is very unlikely that the deadline will be extended, so it’s time to start reviewing ELD suppliers and selecting one that makes sense for your operation. Begin installing them so you can work through the inevitable learning curve your drivers will have. If nothing else, doing so will allow you to simplify your DOT logs, reduce the amount of driver paperwork, allowing them to concentrate on what they do best — driving.
You’ll also benefit from a reduction is logging violations and faster and easier roadside inspections.